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EdTech 2009 Using Google Docs to support Project-based learning Damien Raftery Daire Ó Broin Lecturer & eLearning Development Officer Lecturer Teaching & Learning Centre Science and Health Institute of Technology Carlow Institute of Technology Carlow http://elearn.itcarlow.ie Project-based learning • Wide-ranging approach that uses authentic problems to engage students – question creation of artefacts final product • Benefits include active learning approach • Possible problems – difficult for students to collaborate outside of class – teacher monitor progress and assess individual contribution • Google Docs to help overcome these limitations? The bigger picture: Google Apps & forms, all online Old School Document for collaboration New School Link to Doc Link to Doc ONE Online Document for collaboration Link to Doc Link to Doc The interface Editing a document Revision History Sharing a document • Add collaborators and viewers • Publish as web page for all to view • Download as PDF, Word or other formats Using Google Docs to support Project-based learning • Collaborate and work online – edit anytime, from anywhere – share changes in real time, revision history • Issues: limited features, technical … • So, what happened? – how easy was it to setup? – how did the students find using it? – how did we (the teachers) find using it? Setup • Short intro to Google docs • Task 1: Create an account using student number as username • Task 2: Create and share a document Setup • Mail server blocked confirmation emails from Google Docs • Some students inadvertently set up two accounts with same username and password Setup Using it - Good • The ability for numerous people to edit a document remotely is very useful • Can see changes by team members almost immediately • Icon at the bottom of the screen indicating who is currently editing is also handy • Easy to share 1 (v. easy) • Easy to use? 2 3 4 5 (v. hard) 0 2 4 6 8 10 12 14 Using it - Bad • Discarded text • Spontaneous deletions • Autosave • Adding charts difficult • Font type and size changed by itself • Can be very slow • Unavailable for saving (rare) Would you use Google Docs again? no yes Yes • “It is very easy to work with others as a group even when you don't get time to meet up” • “Yes, for simple documents” • “Yes, if I was working within a group situation” No • “MS Word is easier to use and less time consuming.” • “I found it quite difficult to use and navigate. I would stick to using Word and sending my work via e-mail. ” • “Typing a document on Word is much easier, with a much better range of tools to format documents.” • “There were a of problems with members of the group not being able to log in and collaborate and this caused problems within the group. There were more negatives than positives to Google Docs.” Teacher Evaluation • Giving feedback – opportunity to monitor, comment, and flag issues during project – Revision History • Evaluating projects – forms (self- and peer-assessment rubrics, reflections) – no more emails and sheets of paper to file Revision history Revision history • • Plagiarism – limitation: can’t compare final and initial versions Forms Online evaluation & feedback forms Conclusion • Successful • What worked well – Student collaboration outside of class – forms and revision history • Limitations – Discarded text and spontaneous deletions – Autosave – Revision history: compare final and initial versions – Compared with MS Word: not as easy, fewer features Conclusion • Some suggestions – Setup: check confirmation messages arrive – Training for adding charts, etc. – Clearer guidelines, e.g. naming conventions • Future work – Alternatives: Microsoft Live? Wikis? Thank you & questions?
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